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The stars are aligning for American taxes on French wines to be abolished

By Vitisphere March 02, 2021
The stars are aligning for American taxes on French wines to be abolished
“As soon as the Trade Representative, Katherine Tai, is confirmed, the Trade Commissioner, Valdis Dombrovskis, has been tasked with contacting her and telling her the European Union is aiming for a de-escalation of the situation”, stressed Franck Riester. - crédit photo : Alexandre Abellan (Vitisphere)

f you point out to France’s minister of foreign trade, Franck Riester, that the government only seems to have been active in combatting the impact of American taxes on French wine regions since the beginning of 2021 – when they have been levied since 2019 – he will retort, as he did on 25 February during a visit to distilleries in the Charente region, that its reactions have been anything but delayed. Rather, they have moved up a gear since new, more propitious conditions, have emerged.

First of all, [the European Union] has leveraged its influence to enable the American administration to return to the negotiating table. These are the taxes that were levied on Boeing and a number of other American products at the end of November. Second is the change of administration. You could see that Donald Trump was making erratic decisions, his position was confrontational, whereas what’s needed is negotiation”, explained Riester. The minister added that “by activating the tools specific to Europeans so that they can assert sovereignty and the change of administration, the situation for a successful conclusion to the dispute is more favourable than it was a few months ago”.

The minister had done his homework and was able to reassure representatives of the Charente wine and spirits industry. “He told us that a de-escalation of the situation for wines and spirits was his personal objective. And also that of the President”, recounted Raphaël Delpech, director of the Cognac marketing bureau. Production and marketing representatives called for concrete action and  have received a pledge by the minister to contact Katherine Tai, the new American Trade Representative (USTR), whose appointment is due to be approved by Congress shortly.

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